#1628 / CEATEC JAPAN 2016 – Is Manufacturing Turning Around ?

 CREATEC JAPAN (the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies) was held at Makuhari Messe, one of the largest convention centers in Japan. The four day show opened on October 4, 2016, and organizers anticipated more than 130,000 visitors this year.
In 2000, Createc Japan was established by combining two existing exhibitions – The Japanese Electronics Show and Com Japan. These two trade shows were the largest in the electronics industry during the 20th Century. Unfortunately, attendance at both shows decreased steadily over the years due to the slowing electronics industry in Japan, and the decision to combine them into one resulted in a super industry event.
I visited the show on the first day hoping to analyze and understand the direction of the Japanese electronics industry. The size of the exhibition was almost the same as last year, but there were more visitors. The show did not attract many foreigners; most of the foreigners were exhibitors. Another change was a decrease in the amount of space reserved to entertain visitors
Most of the large electronics companies reserved large booths to feature their new technological concepts. Missing from this year’s show was Sony, Toshiba and Canon. Representatives from Toyota, Honda and Audi rented large sized booths and showcased their latest electronic upgrades in their vehicles.
There were a lot of device manufacturers and material suppliers at the show. At least a dozen device manufacturers displayed aggressive products for the next generation applications.
Anything related to IoT and Robot was very popular at the show. There were many companies that featured products and technologies around these two categories. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the networking of physical devices buildings and other items. A system of interrelated computing devices that is unique to each other but have the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. Both IoT and Robot are technology trends with a broad range of definitions. Many companies generate their own product concepts, so there is not much duplication.
Panasonic had the largest booth in the show and displayed several new products related to home and kitchen appliances. Their products were not very unique, but the Panasonic name is recognizable in the marketplace, and it looks like they are focused on practical products. Other large electronics companies at the show focused on one or two concepts using wireless technology. Unlike Panasonic, their products look unique, but they are not very practical and are years away from entering the consumer market.
The Japanese Electronics and Information Technology (JEITA) as well as the Nippon Hosco Kyokai (NHK) were at the show promoting 4K and 8K TV systems. The objective from both of these organizations is to promote the healthy manufacturing, international trade and consumption of electronics products to further Japan’s economic development. The problem is Japanese manufacturers are not competitive against foreign manufacturers. It’s an uphill climb for these organizations.
Murata and TDK, two well-known component suppliers, were very active during the exhibition. Ten more large sized suppliers including connector manufacturers TE and JAE reserved booths almost the same size as the well-known electronics companies. They displayed multiple products for use in both current applications and future applications. Their presentations were very popular because Japanese component manufacturers are still competitive in the global market. They have secured long term business strategies and execute them in a timely manner.
There were not many material suppliers at the show this year. The few that were there introduced a handful of unique new products. Nippon Electric Glass displayed 4 micron thick glass tape that was very flexible; Asahi Kasei featured an expandable fine cable; Tomoegawa Paper introduced a new non-woven paper made from fine copper fibers. It is flexible, conductive and it has some transparency. Toho Kasei featured a fluorinated polyolefin film that is transparent and piezo active. None of these manufacturers have an exact idea for practical applications from these products, but they will be happy to create one if you can come up with an idea.
Contributions from foreign companies at the show were negligible. The larger sized electronics companies from North America, South Korea and Taiwan did not attend the show. Two Chinese electronics companies, Huawei and Lenovo reserved booths to showcase their latest product lines. Their presentations included current products, but nothing about future technologies. There were more than 20 companies from Taiwan that were mostly subcontracting manufacturers for components and modules.
So, let’s recap. I was able to learn a lot about business trends for the Japanese electronics industry from visiting CEATEC 2016. Major electronics companies are still experiencing a slump in business, but they continue to grind and are conducting many trials to create new markets. I am very optimistic that some of them will come to fruition over the next few years.

Dominique K. Numakura, dnumakura@dknresearch.com
DKN Research, www.dknresearchllc.com

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Headlines of the week
(Please contact haverhill@dknreseach.com for further information of the news.)

Mitsubishi Rayon (Major material supplier in Japan) 9/16
Has agreed with Automobili Lamborghini in Italy to co-develop new CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic) to reduce the weight of the major parts.

Kaneka (Major material supplier in Japan) 9/14
Has achieved 26.33% as the new record of the conversion rate of the single crystal photovoltaic cells by hetero junction construction.

Oki Engineering (Subsidiary of Oki Electric) 9/20
Has started the service of UL94 flammability test for the plastic materials of electronic devices and circuits.

eSol (System engineering company in Japan) 9/21
Expands the engineering serves of ROS (Robot Operating System) for automobile devices, medical devices, home appliances and entertainment systems.

Mitsubishi Material (Major material supplier in Japan) 9/26
Has developed a new junction technology between AlN ceramic substrate and metallic copper without silver.

Tonen General (Major petroleum supplier in Japan) 9/27
Has founded a new JV in Muroran, Hokkaido for the new power generation business utilizing timber based biomass materials.

RIKEN (Major R&D organization in Japan) 9/27
Has establish the technology to focus slow positive ion beam in 750 nanometer diameter.

NEC (Major electronics company in Japan) 9/28
Has developed a new high efficiency lithium ion battery as the power source of the drones for industry use. It makes flying time and length 33% longer.

Renesas Electronics (Major semiconductor manufacturer in Japan) 9/29
Has unveiled a new compact wireless charging solution for wearable devices and healthcare devices. The system consists of source and receiver.

Toppan Printing (Major printing company in Japan) 10/4
Will enter biosensor business utilizing piezo device. Toppan expect remarkable applications in medical and healthcare market.

Taiyo Yuden (Major device manufacturer in Japan) 10/4
Has agreed with Aromabit Corp. to cooperate for R&D project of flavor sensor. The sensor detects low level gas concentration by quartz vibrator.

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